Florida Marlins Top 50 Prospect Countdown #38

Phil Akens is still relatively disregarded as a top prospect by the Marlins front office. But it is obvious that they are still intrigued by him. Find out where he stands in the system and how the Marlins are testing him in the latest installment of the Marlins Insider's Top 50 Prospect Countdown.

Florida Marlins Prospect Spotlight Countdown #38

Phil Akens
Vital Stats:
Position: Pitcher
DOB: August 9th, 1982
Birth Place: Bel Air, Maryland Height: 6'6 Weight: 200 lbs.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Acquired: Drafted in the 13th Round (371st overall) in the 2000 amateur draft out of Fallston High School, MD.

Overview: Phil Akens had a very successful 2003 season in which he dispelled many questions and doubts about his ability. He would be a lot higher on this list if there weren't still so many questions that remain.
In 2003, Akens led the Marlins farm system in innings pitched. He started the season at low A Greensboro and earned a mid-season promotion to high-A Jupiter of the Florida State League. Phil pitched well in both places ending the season with a 13-9 record with an ERA just a shade over 3.00. He also led the Marlins system with 165.2 IP and had a fantastic K/BB ratio but only an average at best k/IP ratio. Another quality statistic is that he only yielded 4 homeruns in those 165 innings.

Repertoire: Akens' limited repertoire is probably the biggest reason why he is still not getting recognized as a top prospect by the Marlins front office brass. Akens throws a quality fastball that is occasionally clocked as high as 95 mph, although it is more consistently in the 90-92 range. The problem however is that Akens doesn't really have a quality second pitch, let alone a third. He throws a breaking ball that scouts consider well below average. In 2003, Phil developed a decent change up that he had very good success with but he still needs to develop a better breaking ball. A fastball/change-up only combination will just not get it done against major league hitters.

Style: Akens takes a good approach on the mound. He is not afraid to go after a hitter and he keeps the ball down in the zone so he gets a lot of ground ball outs and doesn't give up the long ball. Early in his career he had some serious issues with control but it appears that he has moved past them by learning not to over-throw on every pitch.

Projection: Right now, Akens would like to remain a starter but it may be possible that he could find a role as a set-up guy. Phil pitched a lot of innings in 2003, possibly because the Marlins wanted to see whether his slender frame could withstand the work. He passed that test and his numbers were very strong. 2004 is going to be a very important year for him as he will pitch against better quality hitters at Double A Carolina. Right now, scouts don't feel that he can have success against top quality hitting. Double A will give him a better chance to prove them wrong.

Estimated Time of Arrival: Phil Akens is a former 13th round pick who was drafted as a raw project because of his size and quality fastball. In his 4 years in pro ball there has been progress, but there are still many questions. Sources say that he is emotionally immature. But he is still only 21 years old (will turn 22 in August) and he is not on the fast track. Because of that, he still has time to grow emotionally and as a pitcher. Keep your eye on him in 2004 as he will either move way up this list or fall off completely.

Year

Team

G

GS

IP

W

L

SV

H

BB

SO

ERA

2003

Greensboro

16

16

100

7

6

0

89

28

70

3.15

2003

Jupiter

11

11

65.2

6

3

0

67

14

43

2.88



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